Teachers incorporate Black History Month into classes


Nishant Medicharla

Lakeside Elementary kindergartner Leia Ragland holds up her rendition of “I Have a Dream” to celebrate Black History Month in Kirby Leonard’s kindergarten class. Students at Lakeside Elementary have been participating in many activities to commemorate and learn more about Black History Month.

Pramika Kadari, Executive News & Enterprise Editor

Throughout the past few weeks, many Coppell ISD students have had mini celebrations of Black History Month intertwined into their school days. 

Black History Month, celebrated in February, began in 1976 and is an annual commemoration of African Americans and their history. At Coppell High School, American Sign Language teacher Delosha Payne’s students produced posters and videos honoring impactful African Americans who were also Deaf. 

“It’s important for students to learn about Black History Month so they know the hardships black people went through, the sacrifices historical black leaders made, and the changes they made; overall, it brings awareness to other cultures about black history,” Payne said. “I wanted them to see not only what African Americans can do, but also Deaf African Americans. Because when you’re Deaf and you’re African American, most people would say they have two strikes against them.”

Each Thursday, Coppell Middle School East English teacher Marcus Green has been playing music by African Americans. Additionally, his daily entrance slides feature memorable African American artists’ artwork. 

Richard J. Lee Elementary’s broadcast program, Lee Live, produced segments featuring famous African Americans throughout February. Likewise, Lakeside Elementary’s media club has been including snippets about honorable African Americans in its morning announcements

“It’s important for kids to know about our nation’s history from an early age,” Lakeside teacher Kirby Leonard said. “That way, they’re able to appreciate the things they have more than they would if they didn’t know about them.”

In Leonard’s class, students were educated about Martin Luther King Jr. and his activism. Furthermore, they wrote their own brief “I Have a Dream” speeches, modeled after Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous one delivered at the 1963 March on Washington. 

“In years past, we have used this activity and have gotten to see that it’s very effective with the young kindergarteners, and getting to see what their ideas are for how to make the world a better place is great,” Leonard said. “It’s important for our kids to learn about the history of our country and how it got to be how it is today. It’s important for them to understand that some of the friendships they have wouldn’t have been encouraged in the past, and that our world today embraces cultures a lot more than it used to. I just hope that they are able to appreciate our nation’s history, and appreciate the friendships they’re able to have today as the result of these people who made big changes to our world.”

In Canyon Ranch Elementary teacher Sydnee Mulherin’s class, students learned about several revolutionary African Americans, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Afterward, they chose one to write poems about.  

“Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Usain Bolt are the most inspiring African Americans to me,” African American CRE fifth grader Philip Fordjour, Mulherin’s student, said. “Black History Month is important to me because it’s a month where we honor what [important African Americans] did, and we can celebrate for the good things they did to help our country, and to not help themselves but to help others, and to revolutionize the world. You should never stop believing in what you think is right, and never give up on your dreams.”

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